Vicky Gwynn waits for her husband to pick up planters she purchased at an Invercargill store on Boxing Day.
Shoppers were pouring out of Invercarill stores with “big purchases” on Boxing Day.
Julie Cameron, owner of Cafe2u which sells coffees out of a van, had a good vantage point while parked up in Leven St, home of several large retailers.
“I’ve been watching people coming out loaded up with goodies, There’s some big purchases,” she said.
Empty carparks were hard to find outside many Invercargill stores, while hundreds of shoppers hunted for bargains inside the busy shops.
Vicky Gwynn was among them, purchasing four large planters to go on her family’s new deck.
“It’s pretty crazy all around town, it’s good for the economy,” she said.
West Coaster Anna Hansley was another shopper in the city, saying she routinely shopped for appliance bargains when Boxing Day rolled around each year.
Cradling a new electric frying pan, she was happy with her purchase and didn’t mind waiting in queues to get it.
“It’s fabulous, good service and lots of people out.”
Invercargill’s Esk St had steady foot traffic at midday, with McKnight & Brown owner Bernie Brown saying there had also been a steady stream of shoppers all morning.
“People are relaxed, it’s a beautiful day.”
Further down the street, Skelts Jewellers staff member Shona Keil also said business was steady, but quieter than Boxing Day in 2020.
She put the quieter sales down to Esk Street being closed to vehicles while the new CBD block was being built across the road.
Foot traffic on the street had been “well down” over the festive season.
“This street is closed for another 12 months.”
Worldline card spending figures show $94.5m was spent in Southland’s core retail merchants [excluding hospitality] between November 13 and December 19, up four per cent on 2020 and up seven per cent on 2019.
E Hayes & Sons general manager Debbie Hodges, speaking last week, said retail was incredibly challenging during a pandemic, but she was happy December’s sales were tracking ahead of Boxing Day and beyond.
Despite fewer people shopping in the E Hayes & Sons Invercargill store than in the previous two Decembers, trading was up for the month.
On Sunday, Retail NZ spokeswoman Aimee Hines said Boxing Day was critical for retailers, especially given sales were down nationwide in the September quarter.
“Boxing Day and other key dates can be make or break for retailers profit margins over a year.
“The lead into Christmas is the biggest period for retailers, it’s a critical season for them and it typically peters down over winter.”
Worldline NZ’s head of data George Putnam said retail sales results for the last week before Christmas would be available on Monday, but nationwide 2021 remained on track to set a new record spend for pre-Christmas shopping.